Building Credibility Part 2
Credibility: You know it when you see it.
In Building Credibility Part One we talked about credibility as a whole and the first two elements that strengthen your credibility; likability and judgment. People respect and want to follow likable people, and when leaders portray good judgment, it strengthens the loyalty others have toward the leader.
Now I want to talk about the third and fourth elements for building credibility; integrity and competence.
Having honesty and integrity in the workplace are some of the most important qualities a leader can have in business because they are the foundation of great leadership.
In multi-billionaire Jon Huntsman’s book, Winners Never Cheat, he writes:
“There are, basically, three kinds of people; the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. Their difference is character.”
By refusing to compromise his business principles, his integrity has enabled him to be a leader in his field.
One of the most highlighted characteristics of leaders that have integrity is their ability to keep the promises that they make, even if they are given reluctantly. Leaders must lead with integrity in mind or they lose credibility. By keeping the mentality of “say what you mean and mean what you say,” leaders stand by their ability to be transparent to those who need them the most. Great leaders are trustworthy even when there is despair in a decision they made, and they maintain consistent and predictable morals when the heat is on because their credibility is on the line.
Be very careful to not underestimate the importance of honesty and integrity in the workplace. Those that have a track record of being objective and truthful are typically perceived as more credible than those who aren’t.
Below are ideas to incorporate into your own life to improve and enhance your integrity.
- If you make a mistake, own it rather than covering it up or blaming others.
- Build a reputation based on loyalty and ethical behavior.
- If you change your stance on something, do so because of objective reasons rather than political/societal reasons.
- Invest in the time needed to clarify your values.
Competence is an absolute expectation if you want to be credible on a certain topic. When was the last time you listened to and became an apostle of someone whom you felt wasn’t really competent on a certain subject? Never, right?
In business, being proficient in only one facet (such as an outstanding orthopedic surgeon) doesn’t holistically make you competent. There are five additional areas that one must consider for achieving complete competency. They are:
Organizational Comprehension: Understanding the organizational structure of the business at hand is vital to success. There must be a clear understanding of the hierarchy within your own business, where you fit into it, and how it fits in with the rest of the world.
Financial Understanding: Business owners must comprehend how money continuously flows in and out of their business. Controlling cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and without this mastery, your business may slip away from you.
Management Skills: Managing employees is something all business owners must be able to handle. This involves everything from guiding employees, maintaining camaraderie within the office, inspiring through leadership techniques, and constantly analyzing overall management performance. This is a beast of a job but the savvy business owners will substantially increase their credibility by understanding these important skills.
Technological Competencies: No matter what type of business you have, technological competencies are an absolute necessity. In today’s day and age, every single business operates to some degree with the aid of a computer. Business owners who inadvertently don’t adopt this kind of thinking are left in the dust and will not be able to keep up with the vastly changing world.
Personal Characteristics: Some competencies in life are natural, God-given talents and business people either possess them or have to develop them. Some are born leaders and some are followers. Some leaders are born with natural charisma and have an easier time attracting followers, while others have to work harder at building up good leadership skills and affirming their message.
Think about the following learning experiences when trying to boost your competence.
- Attend conferences in your field and engage in continual learning.
- Participate in mastermind groups.
- Complete your degree and invest heavily in continuing education.
- Take on high-visibility projects to establish a credible track record.
Bringing it all together
Credibility is a package deal. No single element is a guaranteed predictor of success. After all, an expert without integrity might be a dictator, and a likable person might be one who lacks judgment and makes stupid decisions.
People perceive your level of credibility based on these four elements and remember that this credibility is solely based on observed behavior and not necessarily your overt intentions. It’s important to position yourself carefully if you want to portray your credibility.
Understanding these elements will provide you with opportunities to boost your credibility and success. Put to use these elements in your everyday life and watch how others perceive your new changes. Choose one or two elements to work on at a time. You can’t expect to build credibility overnight. It is something that will take nurturing and practice. With time, you will be able to boost your credibility in your desired area of interest and expertise.
How would you rate your credibility right now? How do you now foresee your credibility in the coming future? What other elements are key to building credibility?